Penn State football players will benefit from a new booster-driven collective known as “We Are NIL,” which intends to provide the team’s top performers with rare permanent disability insurance.
Founder Michael Krentzman told SportTechie Thursday night that the platform has already obtained permanent disability insurance for offensive tackle Caedan Wallace, who was able to qualify due to his status as an NFL prospect.
“This insurance is not easy to get,” said Krentzman, a lawyer and businessman. “You really have to be considered insurable. You have to be a sure-fire NFL talent in a lot of underwriters’ eyes to do it. And you can’t have anything physically wrong with you, a rebuilt knee or anything like that. They want to know that you don’t have anything wrong with you. Things that you may not even know are wrong with you, like a heart arrhythmia. Once they buy that policy, they own the risk.”
Considering the NCAA has previously limited the amount of insurance a school can offer a student-athlete, We Are NIL could potentially break new ground in college sports. Permanent total disability insurance is a form of workers’ compensation that would give a player a weekly wage for losing the ability to work. Normally, Penn State and other universities can offer some level of disability insurance to qualifying athletes, albeit with a cap due to budget purposes.
But We Are NIL can go beyond that cap with its Permanent Disability Insurance. “It’s for a player who can’t play football any more,” Krentzman said. “If he gets hurt on the field, off the field, at practice or if he’s walking across the street and a Jeep runs his feet over, he’s covered. From now until the end of the bowl game. That’s how this policy works.”
Krentzman said he also hopes We Are NIL can arrange some level of Permanent Disability Insurance for the players who are not NFL prospects, perhaps by paying “a little more premium to get a little bit less coverage. It just seems like the right thing to do.”
According to Krentzman, We Are NIL will help players handle the comprehensive paperwork necessary to obtain the insurance and that the platform will be available to some Penn State basketball players in 2022, as well.
“I’m trying to be consistent with what Penn State is about — which is the fan base helping each other out,” Krentzman said. “If you walk down the street just about anywhere, if you walk through any major airport, and you’re wearing a T-shirt that has the Penn State logo on it, another Penn Stater will point at you and go, ‘We Are,’ There’s a thing about it. So, yes, we’re totally trying to raise money and get deals for guys and connect alumni. Totally. But there’s so many ways to use NIL for things that are so darn good, it’s amazing. So that’s our M.O. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Entering the college football season, NIL valuations conducted by college sports data company On3 showed a dozen college football players with a predicted valuation for more than $1 million. Athlete marketplace Opendorse, known as a top NIL technology provider, as well as INFLCR, the NIL software and social media management platform, have both entered partnerships with U.S. Bank and MoneyLion, respectively to improve financial literacy for college athletes who are pursuing NIL.